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Hawaiian Internationalism - Unity in Paradise

Wissenschaftlicher Aufsatz 2010 15 Seiten

Asienkunde, Asienwissenschaften


Dissertation for Centre for Asian Pacific Studies,

Lingnan University

Hong Kong

Politics of the world have been changing since nearly their inception, in current times of globalization and technological development internationalism has begun to rise to prominence. Although internationalism as the name indicates is a truly international philosophy of many origins throughout the globe. Although too many people internationalism may be in question or seem unrealistic it has been hailed for decades by many as both practical and legitimate. Albert Einstein one of the greatest minds of the 20th century states this simply “tokens of an international way of thinking and feeling are particularly welcome; for the world is today more than ever in need of international thinking and feeling by its leading nations and personalities, if it is to progress towards a better more worthy future.” (Albert Einstein, pg 43). It is often necessary however in the thorough understanding of any given movement or philosophy to have roots, or a connection to a tangible place and people. Although many turn to the conventional sources of Geneva, Vienna, and New York the truest form of internationalism arises from the need of cultures to blend and work together in order to survive and thrive. Understanding this multi-cultural dimension of internationalism the ideal candidate for an examination of internationalism induction into a society is the isolated isles of paradise that have become modern day Hawaii. In an examination of the role of internationalism in the politics and history of Hawaii the roots of modern internationalist trends may be uncovered as well as a deeper understanding of Hawaii’s own past and the truly international character of its population. This sense of destiny is better expressed in the words of John A. Burns on February 20th 1969 when he exclaimed to the House of Representatives about “the tremendous power of Hawaii as a source of inspiration which leads to righteous revolutionary improvement in this world”[1]. In pursuing the origins and influence of internationalism on the politics and history of Hawaii the very nature of internationalism and its character can be observed, as well as the propensity for internationalism to make profound and substantive change in the lives of ordinary citizens.

Internationalism is the theory that nations are equal despite all of their differences, although academically this terminology is segregated from cosmopolitism in this study it will be used concurrently or in compliance. Not out of defiance to the established and traditional definition of internationalism but rather to embrace the character of internationalism in Hawaii. The significance of this merger of terminologies is necessary when their definitions are observed. Internationalism focuses on equality and interchanges between nations and the need for international organizations to facilitate this communication[2]. Whereas cosmopolitanism is the idea that all forms of the human polity that make up this world consist of a single unified community which shares a sense of similar morality[3]. In the case of Hawaii and many unfamiliar to academic disciplines these two concepts are merged by internationalisms interest in international regulatory bodies and cosmopolitanisms feeling of a mutual general sense of an international or human community. Hereafter the terminology of internationalism with thus embraces the characteristics of this amalgamation of the two ideologies as is intended by a variety of sources and critics who analyze Hawaii’s history with this clarified intent.

Internationalism was first introduced to Hawaii in the middle of the 1800’s when the community, business, and political leaders of the time thought there should be a larger role of Hawaii in provincial and world affairs. These philosophies where grounded in what was perceived as Hawaii’s unique multi-racial and harmonious social character, which during a time of widespread discrimination on the mainland seen as superior and even a model for societies the world over. These early manifestations of internationalism are the centerpiece behind the popular conception of Hawaii as a ‘unique place’ in more than its natural environment. This is further elaborated as “the Hawaiian socio-cultural experience that dates back well over a century and involves the persistent efforts of a long succession of leaders to forge a unique, supra-diplomatic role for Hawaii in Pacific affairs,” (Hooper, pg 3). This effort to promote Hawaii as a model occurred regardless of temporary popular trends in the state government and community groups a sustained effort in time generated a variety of institutional and social accomplishments which have gained considerable international, national, and local attention over the years. These intervallic efforts begun with the Kingdom of Hawaii itself and its extension of influence and even direct control of other islands throughout the Pacific[4]. This demonstrates the long-held cultural connections of Hawaii to the concepts of internationalism. In the early 1900’s these ambitions of international cooperation and influence shifted to organizations such as the Institute of Pacific Relations and the Pan-Pacific Union[5]. Which were created with the initial concern of creating a better educated regional dialogue, with inclinations towards conferences as a means of dissolving barriers to international relations. Further these ideas and practices extended to the University of Hawaii itself through a variety of international studies programs which were the most significant in both size and diversity in the United States at this time. In this manner the University of Hawaii helped initiate a trend of diversity and international exchange throughout the mainland United States as they soon followed this example[6]. The Institute of Pacific Relations is of arguably the greatest significance during this time as it was influential in Asia, the Pacific, North America and even Europe and maintained this role until well after the Second World War. Statehood in 1959 created another surge of international activism in a time which became distinguished by activities such as the East-West Center, the development of the Peace Corps training program, the Hawaii International Services Agency, a drastic increase in the expansion of local businesses overseas, and the labors of YMCA[7] to organize and expand international programs which were included in their forte of regular daily activities[8]. A lot of these internationalist sentiments which lead to the creation of these organizations is still apparent in their missions and goals, as in the East-West Center’s mission statement, “the East-West Center promotes better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the United States, Asia, and the Pacific through cooperative study, research, and dialogue,” (East-West). Although these missions are today generic of global corporations and others what must be observed is that this organization was founded in 1960, before this present-day trend. Further the experience of international organizations in such as YMCA drew upon their time in Hawaii to practice their political philosophy, “despite its global philosophic and organizational affiliations, the local YMCA is essentially dependent on the Hawaiian experience for its inspiration in the international realm,” (Hooper, pg 174). This mix of organizations proved to be a potent mix in which each facet was both approving of internationalism and supporting it in its own capacity. While being demonstrative of local internationalist thinking which was prevalent in Hawaii at this time. This period of international activity was however followed by a phase of stagnation and immobility in international affairs as politicians and community groups turned inward and governed themselves by largely isolationist policies. The leading individuals and organizations which had been highly involved and active during the 1950’s and 60’s lost momentum and left a vacuum in international politics in Hawaii which has not been filled since. Fortunately institutions have continued from these pivotal days of the 50’s the Pan-Pacific, Southeast Asia Women’s Association, and Pacific Science Association were generated by the Pan-Pacific Union[9]. The Pacific and Asian Affairs Council were generated by the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR), and the University of Hawaii generated the East-West Center and Center for Asia-Pacific Exchange[10]. Although these examples are indicative of the evolution of internationalism in organizations within the state of Hawaii, many of them did not occur or continue to practice the same degree of passion as those before them. This appreciation for internationalism history in Hawaii and its later challenges is more eloquently stated by Paul Hooper as he states:


[1] Hooper page 1











ISBN (Buch)
472 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Lingnan University
Internationalism Hawaii Hawaiian Pacific Culture World People Global Culture 2010 Humanism Progressive



Titel: Hawaiian Internationalism - Unity in Paradise